Approaching Holy Week // M-Note 3.26.2021
by Amy Sanders on March 26th, 2021
“Jesus’ death is not the end of the story; it is the beginning” This past week, my family left town for a few days to spend some time together. It was restorative for me and a gift to be outdoors and away from our phones for awhile. But the world didn’t stop. During that time our country was rocked by two separate mass shootings, one in Atlanta, GA and the other in Boulder, CO. Each shooting had i...  Read More
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Day 33
by Denee Bowers on March 26th, 2021
Friday, March 26Job 40-41 15 “Look at Behemoth,    which I made just as I made you;    it eats grass like an ox.16 Its strength is in its loins,    and its power in the muscles of its belly.17 It makes its tail stiff like a cedar;    the sinews of its thighs are knit together.18 Its bones are tubes of bronze,    its limbs like bars of iron.1Can you draw out Leviathan with a fishhook,    or press d...  Read More
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Day 32
by Denee Bowers on March 25th, 2021
Thursday, March 25Job 38-39In the winter of 1999, many things were happening in my life. I was preparing for college graduation and excited for what lay before me. It was a bright time, even with the cold and snow of Ohio winter upon us. Jenn, my bride-to-be, had told me that she would marry me, and that winter glowed even brighter. Two weeks later, I found a lump on her neck. In short time, we fo...  Read More
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Day 31
by Denee Bowers on March 24th, 2021
Wednesday, March 24Job 36-37A few years ago, my wife and I went to Zion National Park. We hiked a lot but my favorite hike was the Narrows. The hike consists of hiking in water through slot canyons sometimes over a thousand feet high while the river is twenty to thirty feet wide. It’s breathtaking. I understood rationally how over the course of a thousand years water had carved out these massive c...  Read More
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Day 30
by Denee Bowers on March 23rd, 2021
Tuesday, March 23Job 32-33As long as humans live on earth (and probably when they start living on Mars) younger generations will believe themselves smarter than older generations. If you’ve ever thought, heard, or said the phrase “OK, boomer” you know what I’m talking about. There is a specific sort of arrogance that comes with youth, and naturally, we are unable to recognize it in ourselves until...  Read More
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Day 29
by Denee Bowers on March 23rd, 2021
Monday, March 22Job 28-29Do you ever just crave wisdom? Like a cold glass of water when you’re thirsty?Friends, information is everywhere and we are not only bombarded by it daily but we can access whatever version of it we are seeking. Add social media to the conversation and it seems to bring information with bonus tangles of opinions and criticism to the table. Opinions are natural, but they ho...  Read More
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The Fifth Sunday of Lent
by Denee Bowers on March 23rd, 2021
The Fifth Sunday in LentSunday, March 21If you're anything like me you have a vague sense that Easter is coming, but you haven't thought too much about it. Well, I'm here to let you know that there are only two Sundays left before Easter!This year we will be holding online Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter services. Mark your calendar, invite a friend, and join us at live.gatheringnow.org.M...  Read More
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Day 28
by Denee Bowers on March 20th, 2021
Saturday, March 20Job 18-19Can I share a little confession with you? Most days I like the way Bildad thinks here. Now, he may go a little overboard with the whole “bad things happen to bad people” message. After all, it’s a little morbid to think that the bad guys are going to have calamity eating their skin and death’s firstborn consuming their limbs (whatever that means!). But the main idea, tha...  Read More
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Something New // M-Note 3.19.2021
by Amy Sanders on March 19th, 2021
“We aren’t returning to something old, we are beginning something new” On April 11th (the Sunday after Easter), The Gathering will be launching in-person worship at each of our three physical sites. For all of us that grew to love the rhythm of weekly worship with other people, this is significant. We will have the opportunity to see other people, worship with live music, pray in the sanctuary, pa...  Read More
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Day 27
by Denee Bowers on March 19th, 2021
Friday, March 19Job 11-12, 1 Peter 2:21-25Today's words come from Henri Nouwen and his definition of the wounded healer."Nobody escapes being wounded. We all are wounded people, whether physically, emotionally, mentally, or spiritually. The main question is not “How can we hide our wounds?” so we don’t have to be embarrassed, but “How can we put our woundedness in the service of others?” When our ...  Read More
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Day 26
by Denee Bowers on March 18th, 2021
Thursday, March 18Job 3Have you ever been annoyed with God? God, when I prayed that you would help me find a job, I didn’t mean a job that would require me to move my family across the country…Have you ever been upset with God? God, I know Mimi was 92 years old, but she was still leading a meaningful life -- why did she have to die so suddenly?Have you ever been angry with God?I’ve led a pretty ch...  Read More
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Day 25
by Denee Bowers on March 17th, 2021
Wednesday, March 17Job 1-2Today’s reading leaves us with a stark image of Job stripped bare, afflicted, sitting among the ashes. His wife says to him, “Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!” I imagine Job slowly raising his head to meet his wife’s pain-stricken face as he responds, “Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?”Like Job’s wife, I find it hard not to get hu...  Read More
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Day 24
by Denee Bowers on March 17th, 2021
Tuesday, March 16Exodus 39-40As you read this passage in Exodus, it might seem tempting to skip over the details. Don’t do it. I’d encourage you to take time to pay attention to all that is being described.These aren’t complex features designed to annoy the reader. Instead, there are holy reasons written into each twist and turn of gold and colorful yarn, divine depths singing from every piece of ...  Read More
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Day 23
by Denee Bowers on March 15th, 2021
Monday, March 15Exodus 37-38Exodus 37-38 gives fairly detailed notes on how the ark, table, lampstand, altars, basin for washing and courtyard were built. The Biblical description involves a lot of gold, acacia and bronze. Since there were no Ikea manuals at this time, the instructions for assembling each of these items had been given to Moses on the mount earlier in Exodus.While the Editor-In-Chi...  Read More
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The Fourth Sunday in Lent
by Denee Bowers on March 14th, 2021
Sunday, March 14The thing about Lent is that as much as it is an important season spiritually it also mimics the change of seasons in the natural world. We put ashes on our heads and meditate on our mortality while it is very much still winter. We celebrate new life and resurrection when spring has taken over outside. Here in the midwest we can’t always rely on the weather to reflect this (I belie...  Read More
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Day 22
by Denee Bowers on March 13th, 2021
Saturday, March 13Exodus 35-36"Then all the congregation of the Israelites withdrew from the presence of Moses. And they came, everyone whose heart was stirred, and everyone whose spirit was willing, and brought the Lord’s offering to be used for the tent of meeting, and for all its service, and for the sacred vestments. All the Israelite men and women whose hearts made them willing to bring anyth...  Read More
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Hope Is A Good Thing // M-Note 3.12.2021
by Amy Sanders on March 12th, 2021
“Hope is a good thing, maybe the best thing.” In case you don’t recognize it, it’s a line from Shawshank Redemption. It is one of those movies that anytime I see it on tv, I have to stop and just watch. I recently introduced it to George, my youngest. I’ve seen it 100 times, but he had never heard of it. The line above is one that Andy shares with his friend Red. They are both in prison, probably ...  Read More
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Day 21
by Denee Bowers on March 12th, 2021
Friday, March 12Exodus 33-34I have a couple of friends who I have known for years, but don’t see all that often anymore. We live in different cities and juggle busy lives, so we don’t talk as often as we once did. When we do reconnect, though, we get deep in a hurry. We talk for hours and cover every topic under the sun.I bring this up, because this is how Moses and God’s conversation in these two...  Read More
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Day 20
by Denee Bowers on March 11th, 2021
Thursday, March 11Exodus 32For Christmas, my 4 year old son got a pair of Mario and Luigi remote control cars. He. Loves. Them. Whenever they come out of storage, there is low-level chaos in the house. The small cars are ramming into doors and baseboards. He lines them up so they can ramp off steps to a thundering crash. Of course eventually the cars run out of battery life and need to be recharge...  Read More
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Day 19
by Denee Bowers on March 10th, 2021
Wednesday, March 10Exodus 30-31Have you ever attempted to read the Bible cover-to-cover? If you have, you know that starting with Genesis is easy and entertaining -- it covers the Creation story, the fall of Adam and Eve, Noah’s ark, and Joseph, whose saga and elaborate cloak inspired Broadway. Then, the epic saga continues in Exodus where you meet Pharaoh, Moses, and the Israselites, and God send...  Read More
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Day 18
by Denee Bowers on March 9th, 2021
Tuesday, March 9Exodus 28-29These two chapters discuss priestly garments, Aaron’s consecration, the tent of meeting, one-time and ongoing rituals involving sacrifices. Before I lose you, remember that Israelites did not have a set priesthood yet and God was establishing them as being “set apart” from the rest of the world.We are talking about a lineage of people who were slaves previously; traumat...  Read More
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Day 17
by Denee Bowers on March 8th, 2021
Monday, March 8Exodus 26-27Let’s level with one another for a second: if you’re reading through the second half of Exodus, you’re in some pretty dense and altogether BORING reading. I feel like it’s good to name that on the front end. This is the part of the Bible where people reading the Bible in a year start to veer off course around the end of January. Because there’s no action. There are no wh...  Read More
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The Third Sunday in Lent
by Denee Bowers on March 7th, 2021
The Third Sunday in LentSunday, March 7In the Catholic tradition there are three pillars of Lent: fasting, prayer, and almsgiving. The third pillar, almsgiving, often gets overlooked in our observance of the season. Almsgiving is a fancy word for charity. It is considered a form of prayer because almsgiving is meant to be a way of giving to God (Matthew 25:40). Just as we make sacrifices through f...  Read More
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Day 16
by Denee Bowers on March 6th, 2021
Saturday, March 6Exodus 23:20-25:40You want to know that a child is serious about a commitment? Don’t just ask them to promise. Ask them to pinky promise. Similar to upping the ante on a dare to a double dog dare, the pinky promise is the most sacred of vows. While we can’t be sure whether God asked Moses and the Israelites to pinky promise, today’s reading does include a very significant commitme...  Read More
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